crossing boundaries

I have a picture idea or two or three or four. All of them I think probably require a deep, trusting and loving relationship to make – or hired models who don’t know each other. The images cross lines. They cross social lines, they cross sexual lines they dip their toes into dominant and submissive rolls, they fuck with mother child adult roles, they may seem fetishist without intending to be so. They would cross all kind of fucked up lines if I cast models the true age of the characters to be portrayed – so I must make it work with adults.

When talking with a friend the other day about pictures I have to make. He offered to model and I said – “we’re not there yet, they involve nudity” Meaning if we’re not looking at each other nekkid then modeling for these photos isn’t gonna happen. I realize that he doesn’t know that much about my head, my process or my darker work. I do want to share the whole block of ideas with him. I’m not sure their wholly formed. I can see them, I can kind of describe them, I can probably draw them and still I’m not sure it’s reasonable to ask someone I only know so well to participate in something that is so challenging for me to conceive of. I don’t know that I am comfortable asking him to dip into my dark childhood to reenact violent crimes with me; reenact deeply intimate acts of nurture with me, dip into the dark pools of my mind to help me heal some old wounds.

They are challenging images. I know they are. They're challenging for me to think about, they're  challenging for me to talk about (I haven’t actually uttered words out loud about them yet), and it’s challenging to discuss as ideas with another person. I’m not sure the images will read accordingly once they’re made and I’m not sure that making them will be the cathartic exercises I want them and need them to be. As far as I can tell my friend hasn’t signed up for my brand of weird. Or maybe he has and I just flipped it aside because I'm afraid of myself.

My gut reaction is that if we’re not swapping spit, then having a man I’m completely gaga over engaging in the activities to be portrayed in these images is more than a little awkward for me. I don’t think I can relax my desire enough to just make the images. They are either an incredibly intimate act and or violent act and we are not intimate enough with each other at this time for me to trust him with this stuff. I do wonder if we were never going to be intimate could I do it? This is not something I can predict. The problem is that I want very much to be that kind of intimate with him. Bad. If he’s not there and I want to be there then it’s just awkward for me. But why? Wouldn’t this be an opportunity to be intimate?

My first thought is that I have boundaries of not allowing my buddies to see me in a state of naked. More importantly I have boundaries of not letting people, who aren’t privy to seeing my junk up close, into my head to know what dark soup brews there. I’m afraid they will go away. I know damn good and well that that is a reaction to people ditching me as a friend when I was a kid for being too weird. I’m not a kid, and if folks can’t hang with my flavor of weird I don’t need them. Right. I don’t want to scare him away.

If we’re not “there” and may possibly never be “there” then what’s the biggs? The first thing that comes to mind is, the people I allow to see me nekkid are people I want to fuck. I want to be swapping bodily fluids with this person. It’s really that simple.

But why do I have this boundary? As I re-read this it seems counter productive to skip this opportunity.

Why don’t I want this person hear these ideas if we’re not intimate? Would it be different if it were my roommate? I need to "man-up" and just go there and see what happens. There are two people I think I could ask to do these photos, and I think they would. Of course neither of them live within 200 miles of me – which is a bit of a challenge.

Two of these image ideas hark back to my childhood. Both are violent. One I was the recipient of the violence the other I observed. The memories haunt me. I think the memories affect how I conduct myself in the world (starting with not letting people see me nekkid).

When I was a girl, ages 8 through 10 I lived with my mom and her boyfriend Michael. When I first moved in with them we lived in an apartment building in a big complex for a while before we moved into a house way out of town across the road from the woods. After we moved to this house … I can’t piece too much of it together without writing a book, but Michael began being rough with me, short tempered. I was probably 9 years old when he started throwing me around. I’m pretty sure he was using drugs, and I’m pretty sure I found them, but I don’t know if the specific memory I have of his raping me had anything to do with that. This grown ass man forced his full grown self into my little body and threatened to kill me and my mom if I said anything to anyone about it. My keen powers of logic and reason were not fully formed by nine. The threat worked. I did eventually reveal to someone that I was being threatened. I began acting out at school, I began being troublesome at the babysitters, I began talking to my friends – who talked to their parents, and I mouthed off to him and he kicked my ass, ripped my hair out, belted me as well as continued to force himself on me when he found the opportunities. I’m pretty sure I told my mom too. I recall being told that I was exaggerating and that I should not talk about it anymore and I should forget about it. She often (and still) tells me to "ignore it and it will go away". God if only that were true.  The image is of a young girl half undressed forced onto a waterbed, with a 30 something year old man raping her. Challenging. Yes. Dare I go there? I really want to. I don’t want to relive it. I want to extract it from my brain, make it real. Validate it. I can't ignore it any more, it hasn't gone away.

After my mom left this guy (I don't think she left him for my benefit), we lived in rented rooms in a friend of hers house. She would drive me around the corner and drop me off at a babysitters before school. One day when she dropped me off, I got out of the car and walked to the door, when I turned around to wave goodbye the man who had raped me, Michael was in the back seat of the car holding her body to the seat back and had a big knife to her neck as if he were going to slit her throat. Was he making good on his promise to kill her because I told on him? I screamed, “you bitch” the only swear word I knew – I probably learned them from him. Afterwards my mom scolded me for swearing (really). The image of the car, mom, knife, man needs to be made. Not only is it a strong image that addresses vulnerability of women to violent crime, it is an image that is burned on my brain and needs to be let go.

The next image to be made is probably the most intimate (for me) and definitely the most loving and completely unrelated to the two just described. It’s more important to be a self-portrait than the other two. And is intended to commemorate meeting my man-child, although it is still very challenging to appropriateness. It’s of me sitting, on a couch, daybed, bed or something comfy and homey, holding a man draped in my lap to my bare breast to latch on in an act of nursing, his hand up clutching flesh. I will be looking down into his face. I can’t see this image as anything but a finished image – so not from the perspective of either character. It’s kind of a pieta but not really. This image is the most challenging for me to ask for help on. It’s the one I think is too intimate to ask him to model for. Hey will you – the man I’m not kissing but am crushing on really hard – lay in my lap and suckle my breast while I take pictures of it? My head says, if we’re not frenching anytime soon, then I’m not sticking my nip in your mouth either.

Again I come back to, if it were someone else would I be having the same reaction?

I guess it doesn't hurt to take him up on his offer, tell him what I'm trying to do and see what happens.  


  1. Thank you for sharing this. It's a lot. But you're still here, and all things considered, that's a lot too. For what it's worth, I'm glad to know you. Good luck with the photos - I'm certain with your strength, courage and talents, it will all come together.


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